Although I’ve read a great deal about climate change
and worry about it a lot,
I’ve never given any particular thought as to how climate change will affect our garden.
I live in a chalky area where the soil drains quickly even after the heaviest of downpours. I haven’t planted anything very delicate apart from my potted camellia. I’m just as happy for wild flowers to live in our little space alongside anything we’ve planted there.
But a few days ago I read an article which raised the question for me.
Climate change could transform gardens says BBC Science editor, David Shukman.
Shukman reports on 90 year old Jean Combes. She’s been keeping records of the dates when certain trees in her locality come into bud. She’s recorded this for over fifty years and she’s found that the trees at her Surrey home burst into leaf about three weeks earlier than they did in 1960.
The city of Northampton, Shukman explains,
is right on the divide between two distinct climate zones. Residents of the north of the city find that their lawns don’t need cutting as frequently as those who live in the south of Northampton. It’s been like this for decades but now the more northerly residents are finding they need to cut the grass much more in early Spring and late Autumn.
In some areas excess rain is causing huge problems for gardeners
while in other areas reduced water is creating just as many difficulties. Increasingly violent, stormy weather can be devastating and an excess of strong winds is highly problematic.
The director of the Harlow Carr Gardens in Harrogate, Paul Cook,
told Shukman that it was more and more important to keep watch on the highly changeable weather conditions. “My biggest worry,” says Cook, “is that these major weather events do such a huge amount of damage to the garden.” However, he’s not completely pessimistic believing that there could be opportunities to grow a wider range of plants.
We’re not planning any great changes in our garden this year.
A neighbour has recently removed a giant double Leylandii which has transformed the garden by letting in so much more light. I just want to observe the effect this has on everything that’s already growing in our garden.
So far the greatest beneficiaries of the increased light levels are the dandelions which are in profusion at the moment. The lilac tree is more heavily laden with flowers than ever before, presumably because it’s now in direct sunshine instead of the Leylandii shade. It will be interesting to see what else grows stronger or proliferates as we move into summer.
Actually, we were delighted when the Leylandii was removed.
In high winds it lashed from side to side and we were anxious about our fate if one night we were sleeping and an extra gust of wind brought it down on top of the roof. But once we’ve become accustomed to the increased light levels, we’ll have to start thinking about what we need to do to cope with climate change in our garden too.
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